Health ministry to close loophole allowing sale of 775 'herbs'
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is to change the legal designation of 775 quasi-legal drugs in a plan to combat the growing use of “herbs” in Japan.
The smoking of “haabu” (herbs), or loophole drugs, sometimes containing hallucinogens, has been a growing problem in Japan in recent years. The unregulated products have caused serious health problems, and even death, while the law has been struggling to catch up.
In order to more effectively control the sale and possession of the huge variety of these drugs in circulation, the health ministry on Thursday announced plans to make 775 varieties of synthetic cannabis illegal.
The ministry said this latest change in the law covers a large number of “herbs,” containing 90 separate stimulants and hallucinogens, in an attempt to more comprehensively deal with the problem.
The change in the law will come into effect from February next year, the ministry said. Those found guilty of producing or selling the drugs after that time could face a fine or a prison sentence.